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Moths vs. Butterflies (Grade 9)

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Moths vs. Butterflies

It flutters by, colorful wings flapping up and down gracefully on the summer breeze. If you take a closer look, you might wonder if it is a moth or a butterfly passing by. If you are not sure, do not worry because many people have the exact same struggle. The two insects are quite similar, but once you have learned the differences, you will most likely be able to identify each type at a glance.

Both moths and butterflies are covered in soft, hair-like scales, have two sets of delicate, patterned wings, and start their lives as caterpillars that later transform inside cocoons. The biggest difference between the two is found in their antenna. While a butterfly's antennae are long, and shaped like clubs, moths' antennae have rough or jagged edges like feathers or saws.

Between the two insects, butterflies are typically larger and far more colorful. Although moths have beautiful patterns on their wings, they tend to be in muted shades of gray and brown, as opposed to the bright and vibrant oranges, blues, reds, and greens of butterflies.

Perhaps the biggest clue as to whether you are seeing a moth or butterfly is the time of day you spot it. Butterflies prefer to fly around in the bright sunshine, while moths certainly favor the dark night hours.
What do butterflies have that moths do not?
  1. Bright colors
  2. Soft scales
  3. Patterned wings
  4. Feathered antenna
What is the primary difference between moths and butterflies?
  1. Moths have two set of wings.
  2. Moths tend to only fly at night.
  3. Moths begin life as a caterpillar.
  4. Moths have club-shaped antenna.
What factor do moths and butterflies have in common?
  1. Both have feathered antennae.
  2. Both have bright, colorful wings.
  3. Both have the same schedule for flying and sleeping.
  4. Both have a coating of soft scales like tiny hair.

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